UCD completed the pre-Christmas men’s EY Hockey League programme with a resounding 8-0 win over Annadale to move back into the top three.
Ali Empey set the ball rolling, scoring just a few minutes into his debut for the club having switched from Three Rock Rovers in midweek.
Belgian exchange student Gauthier Beirnaert struck twice – in what was his last game before returning home – before the end of the first quarter, effectively ending the contest very early on. Andrew Meates added a fourth before half-time and further strikes from Ewan Ramsay, Peter Lynch, Empey and Guy Sarratt closed out a comprehensive success.
For the students, it keeps them right in the frame for a playoff place for the first time but, for Annadale, their tenure in the division looks already to be in real peril.
The competition will return on February 1st with a round of back matches postponed from November with Dale travelling to their nearest rivals at the bottom, Pembroke, who are four points better off. Lose and the writing will probably be on the wall.
In Leinster Division One, meanwhile, Clontarf moved a big step toward a maiden crown at this level as they hammered nearest rivals Railway Union 5-0 in a surprisingly one-side affair.
Kevin Murray tapped in a corner rebound; Luke Hayden grabbed the second and then Jordan Edmonds scored a glorious openside shot into the bottom corner for 3-0 at half-time.
Railway got little change from the Tarf defence throughout with Scott Beattie, Davyn Keuter and Timmy Cullen to the fore. They did have a fourth disallowed before Keuter dragged in one which stood.
Kevin Mullins then completed the result with a cracking strike on his backhand, reversing to the top corner off the inside of the post, crowning a rowdy affair with plenty of cards.
Portrane strengthened their hold on third place with Chris Neville and Stephen Rogan both scoring in a 2-1 win over Avoca, all the goals coming in the first half.
Rathgar overcame the in-form Dublin North 3-2. Alan White gave Gar the lead in the second quarter from a drag flick following a number of corner. Dublin North equalised early in the third quarter with some individual brilliance from Adrian Sweeney who lobbed Matt Breton in the Rathgar goal.
Davíd Meade put Rathgar back in front from a deflection. Andy Malcolm made it 3-1 after a well worked move to find him at the back post. The lead was back to one after North caught Rathgar on the break and the ball was sent to the back post for an easy Sweneey tap in – his sixth goal in three games.
Kilkenny moved up to sixth place with a 5-0 success against Weston, Henry Huston the main hitman with two goals. Dublin University scored their second win in succession when they beat Bray 5-1, two goals from both Robbie O’Hanlon and Greg Arrowsmith.
Leinster Division One returns on January 25, 2020.
Men’s weekend results.
EYHL: UCD 8 (A Empey 2, G Beirnaert 2, P Lynch, E Ramsay, G Sarratt, A Meates) Annadale 0
Leinster Division 1: Avoca 1 (R Couse) Portrane 2 (C Neville, S Rogan); Clontarf 5 (K Murray, L Hayden, J Edmonds, D Keuter, K Mullins) Railway Union 0; Dublin North 2 (A Sweeney 2) Rathgar 3 (A White, A Malcolm, D Meade); Dublin University 5 (R O’Hanlon 2, G Arrowsmith 2, P Temperley) Bray 1 (J Collins); Weston 0 Kilkenny 5 (H Huston 2, H McDonnell, A Atkinson, E Walshe)